Tuesday, May 31, 2022

'Attention to Detail': Texans Impressed With New Offense Under Pep Hamilton


Throughout the first several practices, the Texans have been high on the play design of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton



MAY 30, 2022


HOUSTON -- It was always going to be Pep Hamilton for the Houston Texans on offense. The question was who would serve as the offensive coordinator's head coach in 2022. 

Following the development of quarterback Davis Mills, the Texans were keen on keeping Hamilton on staff as the new offensive boss. He interviewed for several coordinator positions in the offseason, but with a son starring in Texas high school football, Hamilton wanted to remain in Houston to be close to his family. 

Four months following the promotions of head coach Lovie Smith and Hamilton, Houston is seeing the results it has been hoping for at OTAs. There's a sense of urgency on offense, perhaps one that wasn't there under former offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and head coach David Culley. 

Players have seen Hamilton's play design both in the film room and on the practice field. The consensus impression is that Hamilton isn't in over his head. This isn't his first rodeo commanding the offense. 

"Pep, he is special and a great mind," receiver Brandin Cooks said. "I’ve got a lot of trust in him and just trying to help him be right. We love going to work with him every day.”

Pep Hamilton

Pep Hamilton

Pep Hamilton

The development of quarterbacks has played a pivotal role throughout Hamilton's career. He helped Andrew Luck become a star in Stanford's offense and later the No. 1 pick. The two would reunite in Indianapolis, where Luck put up career numbers on the way to an AFC Championship appearance in 2014

Prior to arriving in Houston, Hamilton served as the quarterbacks coach with the Los Angeles Chargers. By Week 2, Los Angeles was forced to play then-rookie Justin Herbert with little experience. By the season's conclusion, Herbert broke every rookie passing record on the way to becoming league's Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

Mills is a different story than both Luck and Herbert. The fellow Pac-12 passers were selected in the top 10 of their drafts. Mills, who broke the Texans' rookie passing record in 2021, was selected in the third round. Should he improve in 2022, the Texans have something in the works for the first time in the post-Deshaun Watson era. 

If not? No harm, no foul. 

One area of improvement for Houston late was at quarterback. Mills finished the final five games of the regular season with a 2-3 record while throwing for 1,258 yards while completing 68.2 percent of his throws. He posted a 9:2 touchdown to interception ratio and finished with a rookie-high 103.9 passer rating. 

"He’s going to be an excellent quarterback in the NFL for a lot of years, but it’s about this year," Smith said. "Having a year, he and Pep Hamilton getting on the same page with our offense, and him being in a role from the start, that’s different also. But that’s what you do."

Cooks and Mills are two players who have become accustomed to working with Hamilton and understand his demeanor. New names, such as offensive lineman A.J. Cann, are just getting introduced to the architect of the Texans offense, though it has gone so smoothly that one would think he's been a part of the process for years. 

"He’s a very detailed coach," Cann said. "He shares a lot of information, but he makes sure we all know what we are doing, each and every day. It doesn’t matter what it is. 

"He’s going to make sure we have a meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page and that’s what you need in an offensive coordinator.”

Under Hamilton, Houston is hoping for better results after mediocre production last season. The Texans finished bottom-five in every offensive category, including 32nd in total offense and run offense. Houston hit new lows in the run game, averaging a franchise-worst 3.2 yards per run.

The Texans return for the second stage of OTAs starting Wednesday, June 1.

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